Pune, Maharashtra, India-based multinational IT provider Tech Mahindra has announced that they will invest nearly Canadian $100 million (US $ 79 million) in a Center of Excellence (CoE) in Canada. The CoE will focus on blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. Tech Mahindra has made this announcement during the recent visit to India by the honorable prime minister of Canada, Mr. Justin Trudeau.
Blockchain is gradually coming out of the shadows of its famous application cryptocurrency, among which Bitcoin and Ethereum have gained massive following. Hot cryptocurrencies are embraced by enthusiastic traders all over the world, as seen in the meteoric rise in the price of Bitcoin to US $ 20,000 in December 2017. Financial Technology (FinTech) industry was among the first ones to recognize the value of blockchain, the technology underpinning Bitcoin. Businesses in other sectors, governments and even non governmental organizations (NGOs) have started to see the value of it now, due to its promise of decentralization and immutable record. Blockchain is a decentralized system, where computers on the network maintain a shared version of truth in a distributed database. Every computer on the network, also called ‘node’, has the entire latest information on blockchain, and the system can’t be put out of commission by destroying any central server. Every node has equal authority, and updates to blockchain needn’t be routed through any central authority. The consensus algorithm in blockchain ensures that updates to blockchain are approved by majority of stakeholders. The consensus algorithm may vary, for e.g. the proof of work (POW) algorithm requires majority of all participating nodes to validate a transaction, whereas the proof of stake algorithm requires validation by majority of participants that stake their crypto tokens for transaction validation. Irrespective of the consensus algorithm used, new block records, also called ‘blocks’ can only be added after majority approval. Every record on a blockchain is mathematically proven, and no existing record can be deleted or altered. This rigor in blockchain makes hacking it economically non-viable. Businesses and governments are increasingly exploring this technology for use cases where elimination of middlemen is needed, along with maintaining tamper-proof records.
Canada has a rich innovation culture, ready and skilled workforce, in addition blockchain and AI are at the center of the Canadian governments technology strategy towards delivering value to the citizens. Tech Mahindra is already present in Canada, with offices in Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia. The CoE will be based out of Toronto, and will work with leading academic institutions and innovators, to develop advanced blockchain and AI solutions.
Businesses across the breadth of industry verticals, governments, and NGOs are building blockchain-powered solutions that could prove to be game-changer in their domains, for e.g:
- Technology giant Intel is powering genetic sequencing with blockchain.
- Leading global conservation NGO World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is launching blockchain-powered solution to fight illegal fishing and slavery in the Pacific Islands Tuna industry.
- Oslo, Norway-based DNV GL is transforming their risk assurance service with blockchain.
- Government of India is exploring blockchain to fight corruption and improve service delivery to the Indian citizens.
Tech Mahindra is an experienced player in blockchain. They are part of the Mahindra Group, and Tech Mahindra is already working on the blockchain projects that the group has planned across financial services, auto, mobility and agritech. They are working with IBM on a supply chain finance solution powered by blockchain. Tech Mahindra is also working with Power Ledger, a peer-to-peer marketplace for renewable energy, to bring energy microgrid solutions to India’s rapidly growing urban population.